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Picture of the Month - April 2013

We're featuring an image from the 359th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s Birthday one hundred years ago in Stratford-upon Avon.

Helen Hargest

Today is William Shakespeare’s 449th birthday and St George’s Day.  Here in Stratford-upon-Avon we celebrated Shakespeare’s Birthday on Saturday 20th April; a beautiful sunny, warm day which saw crowds of people lining the streets, relieved no doubt that their umbrellas could be left at home for once!

One hundred years ago, the 359th anniversary of Shakespeare’s Birthday took place on 23rd April and Picture of the Month features an image of this event from our local collections of photographs of Stratford-upon Avon. It shows large crowds lining Bridge Street as the flags are unfurled.

Shakespeare's 359th Birthday
Crowds lining Bridge Street as the flags are unfurled to celebrate the anniversary of Shakespeare's birth.

This is a modern print from  a collection of mainly glass negatives from the premises of Frederick J. Spencer, who managed a chemist shop and photographic business  at 31 High Street between c. 1924 and c. 1959.

The Morning Post’s report of the celebrations appeared the following day, 24th April 1913; “The event of the day was the unfurling of the National and Empire flags, 52 in number, in Bridge Street....The day has been beautifully fine and the crowd is thought by most to be larger than ever before.” The Morning Post also reported that at a private meeting of the Memorial Theatre Committee at the Library later in the day, Mr. William Calvert on behalf of his mother, Mrs. Charles Calvert, presented to the theatre “two immense albums containing a unique collection of coloured scenes and costumes by the late Mr. Charles Calvert in connection with his famous Shakespearean revivals in Manchester.” These fine volumes are now looked after by the Collections Department at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.